Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Alien Concepts, Reluctant Minds

Peter Boettke's comments on a New York Times article:
The problem is that various statements in the piece are so misinformed theoretically, empirically, and policy application wise that it is hard to know where to start to set the matter straight. But the article is extremely useful as a means to remind us as economic educators that our work is cut out for us and that it does take varied reiterations to force alien concepts upon reluctant minds.
I agree there are far too many problems in the piece to know where to begin a critical analysis. The piece does make an interesting read, especially if, as a member of the club of dismal scientists, you like to be discouraged. Here is how the piece ends:
“Untethered market forces lead to bad things,” said Mr. Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute. “You simply can’t run an economy as complicated as ours on ideology alone.”
I would like to borrow just a bit from Mr. Bernstein's comment here to say: "You simply can't run an economy." The "economy" emerges. It simply is not possible to have sufficient knowledge come to reside in the minds of government bureaucrats to "run an economy" in order to achieve the great good things politicians and bureaucrats have in mind for us.

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